I’ve often found masculinity, as a set of social prescriptions and expectations, a somewhat bewildering concept, despite being a heterosexual male. I don’t like football (soccer, for those of you in the US), in fact I’m not really a sports fan at all, I find sexist jokes about women quite offensive, and I’ve never really felt like ‘one of the lads’. This is probably something to do with being brought up by my mother in the company of my three sisters, but whatever the reason, masculinity is something that puzzles me.
So, advertisments such as this one fascinate me – ones that directly reference cultural expectations or stereotypes – because they provide a window onto one aspect of the social construction of what it means to be male. In this instance it was the medals that caught my attention – the allusion to a military way of life; honour, success … and so on.
1.01pm on 26/4/04